Inserm unité U1237,
BP 5229, 14074 Caen cedex, France
As the population is ageing, expanding the healthy life years is a priority. Mental training for emotion and attention regulation through meditation practice could be particularly beneficial, especially as it targets the emotional dimension of ageing. This review article describes the results of the first studies investigating the effects of meditation practice in elderly participants, especially on aspects known to be impacted by ageing such as psycho-affective factors, cognition, and brain structure and function. These studies generally show a beneficial impact of meditation on these different areas, with a reduction of stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms and sleep disorders, as well as an improvement of cognitive performances and brain changes. However, these preliminary studies have several limitations. Randomized controlled clinical trials including large samples, an active control condition and complementary measures of the effects of meditation and their substrates are therefore necessary. The European research program Medit-ageing has been developed in this context to better understand the impacts of meditation and their underlying mechanisms in the ageing population.
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